What Is A Hernia?

A hernia is a medical condition in which an internal organ or fat or tissue bulges out of the skin through a weak spot in the outer skin membrane. This weak spot can either be the natural opening of the body, such as the groin and the belly button, or the site of any previous injury or surgical would.

The abdomen is the most common site for hernias to develop, however, they can outgrow in the chest, upper thigh and groin areas as well. Hernias are not a fatal condition and give an ample amount of time to the person to address and cure it. Failing to do so, however, can cause unwanted complications in the later life.

Types Of Hernia

There are several types of hernia. However, the most common types as follows;

  1. Hiatal Hernia
  2. Inguinal Hernia
  3. Femoral Hernia
  4. Incisional Hernia
  5. Umbilical Hernia
  6. Epigastric Hernia

Symptoms And Diagnosis

The primary symptom of a possible hernia is the presence of a visible lump in the body. Often it becomes prominent while walking or climbing stairs and becomes less prominent and difficult to spot while lying down. Some other common symptoms for the same are-

  • Discomfort or pain in the affected region, especially while couching or bending

  • Feeling pressure, weakness or heaviness in the region

  • Occasional burning or gurgling sensation in the areas

  • Acid reflux, chest pain and difficulty swallowing, particularly in case of hiatal hernias.

Diagnosis Of Hernia

Most of the hernias are carried out simply through physical examination. The change in its appearance while lying down, standing and coughing, usually is enough in case of hernias of abdomen and groin. However, in case of hiatal hernia, the doctor can recommend a barium x-ray and/or endoscopy.

Risk Factors For Hernia?

Though any individual can develop a hernia, there are several factors which make certain individuals more susceptible to have a hernia. The risk factors associated with a hernia are

  • Having a family history of a hernia

  • Having a previous operation, especially by open surgery

  • Having a previous history of a hernia

  • Being obese or overweight

  • Being pregnant

  • Having a previous childbirth through cesarean

  • Gaining significant weight in a short while

  • Having a persistent chronic cough

  • Having persistent constipation

  • Being a chain smoker

  • Engaging in heavy lifting

  • Having diseases like cystic fibrosis

What Makes The Surgery Inevitable?

Several people or organization claims following certain lifestyle or other approach cure a hernia. These include a wide range of means such as hernia belts or trusses, dieting, exercise and some medication. These means might sound tempting, but they work only on the symptoms, instead of the cause.

These medicines or other tricks usually suppress the pain, helps to deal with other symptoms and offer a relief only for a time being. Thus, it must be noted that the surgery is the only effective cure of the same, as it resolves the issue permanently.

The Special Case Of Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia is a special type of hernia affecting mostly the infants below the age of one year. This is unique and most of the time, non-threatening, as it usually gets resolved on its own by the time the infant reaches one. In case, it doesn’t happen so, the surgical intervention becomes imminent.

Importance Of Surgery In Time

As already mentioned the hernia is not a life-threatening disease and thus provides ample time to schedule a surgery. However, this should be taken for granted and left untreated for a long time. If it is done so, the hernia will continue to grow bigger and bigger in size and will add several medical complications along with it.

Complications Associated With A Hernia

An unattended hernia is likely to attract several complications, namely

1. Strangulation- A portion of the hernia gets tangled and cause bowel obstruction.

2. Obstruction- The organ protruded out, does not receive proper blood circulation and thus, become deficit of oxygen. It might need to be surgically removed.

How Is The Surgery Carried Out?

The surgery begins by making an incision near the site of the hernia. The size of the incision varies significantly on the surgical approach. The protruded hernia is then checked for any possible complication such as strangulation or incarceration. In case any of these are found, the procedure becomes a bit long as the affected part is then surgically removed and the rest is sewed back, before proceeding.

If not, the hernia is gently tucked back in the cavity, where it belonged. Then the incision is stitched back to close the wound. To mitigate the chance of its recurrence, the use of mesh is employed.

Importance of the mesh

Since a chance of a hernia to recur in future is likely a possibility after a surgery, the surgical mesh is often used to mitigate this chance. A surgical mesh is stitched either inside or outside the weak spot or surgical incision. The immune system of some patient may reject or react with the foreign mesh, and thus, special care must be exercised.

Laparoscopic Hernia Repair

In the modern times, the use of laparoscopy enables the surgeon to repair the hernia repair with much ease and health benefits. Being the minimally invasive surgery, it repairs the hernia in a scarless, painless and bloodless approach. It is eventually substituting the traditional open hernia repair operation.

Disclaimer – The information contained in this website is based on the results which the existing patients have got after treatment. However, results may vary from case to case.